Wooly Times to Come

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De-Extinction: Revive & Restore the Great Auk, Woolly Mammoth, North America’s Passenger Pigeon

Wooly Times to Come

Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser  Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The New York Times recently had a lengthy article on The Mammoth Cometh by Nathaniel Rich. It describes current efforts to recreate extinct species, from the Woolly Mammoth (gone for about 5,000 years) to New Zealand’s Great Auk and North America’s Passenger Pigeon. The latter found its demise exactly 100 years ago this year.

Those are just some of the species the Revive & Restore “de-extinction” project has under consideration. The California Grizzly Bear, the Carolina Parakeet, the Tasmanian Tiger and Steller’s Sea Cow are also mentioned as potential candidates for revival. Presumably, all the “de-extincted” species are meant to again freely roam the Earth and in large numbers.

Revive & Restore

The Revive & Restore project is spearheaded by the husband and wife team of Stewart Brand and Ryan Phelan, with assistance from Ben Novak, Perry Hall and others. Their brief bios can be found at the project’s website.

It may well be possible to “revive” some of these extinct species with modern scientific methods though some scientists don’t think so. Passenger pigeons might find sufficient habitat and food in the harvested areas of the grain fields on the continent, but seeing again swarms of 50 million pigeons darkening the sky is not likely, even if they can be de-extincted.

Some previously extinct parakeets may also add to the variety of birds you can mark off on your life list of bird species seen. But when it comes to grizzly bears, tigers and mammoths I am not so sure about the need for having thousands of their kind roam the neighborhood nearby.

Wooly Mammoths

Wooly mammoths disappeared near the end of the last ice age, roughly 10,000 years ago. As Robert Felix describes it in his book Not by Fire but by Ice, the mammoths became extinct for a reason beyond man’s influence. According to Felix it began with calamitous snowfalls and cold that literally froze the mammoths on the spot. Relics of well-preserved mammoths have been found standing still up right at river banks after the water washed away the surrounding silt. These corpses are not just skin and bones; they contain the entire bodies with soft tissues, some even with undigested food in their stomachs.

In other areas of Siberia and the Czech Republic large fields of mammoth bones were found. These deposits involved the remnants of many thousands of animals and were so large that entrepreneurs started commercial mining operations to have the bones dug up for the sole purpose of grinding them into fertilizer.

Now I have no problem with (live) mammoths—from a safe distance.

After all, they were herbivores largely living on grass, like modern elephants. Their monstrous tusks just make them look so majestic. I don’t think anyone ever figured out why they were sporting them. In any event, I think that modern DNA-science probably has a good chance of de-extincting the Woollies if so desired. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily want one to wander through my backyard; there are limits to my tolerance, but in the middle of the Siberian Taiga, they might become a tourist attraction—from a safe distance.

About the grizzlies and tigers, I’ll have to reserve judgement at this time. It may just depend on who is standing in front of me when I come across one.

Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser  Bio

Dr Klaus LE KaiserDr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser is author of CONVENIENT MYTHS, the green revolution – perceptions, politics, and facts

Dr. Kaiser can be reached at: mail@convenientmyths.com

20 thoughts on “Wooly Times to Come”

  1. I think the wooly mammoth would have re-evolved itself. These genes are dormant in all elephants and would only require numerous generations to reassert itself,as elephants readjusted to a cooling earth. But elephants would have to be free to roam in Northern climates like they were 10K years ago and longer.

  2. Was listening to one of our Congressman on the radio.

    Seems there is a lot of concern over F.D.A. applying for license to conduct multiple parent D.N.A..
    F.D.A. claims through this test tube baby we can produce a disease resistant, remove genetic passed undesirable conditions which exist from parent. Simply by slicing and dicing through the D.N.A. code. Throw it in the pot, boil it down, look into all the criteria and what the end result iS HUMAN CLONING!!
    Have documentation when G.W. Bush was yet into 1st term. Presented a proposal to U.N. representing a moratorium on human cloning. The end result was China politely informed their U.N. partners that China would continue current human cloning avenues.
    G.B. in retrospect announced hey, if Chiner’s gonna cont. pursuing said science then G.B. will continue same avenue. ta de da de da!!!
    Well looks like we may be moving from underground to a more accepting populist environment.
    Spooky times we live in indeed folks! Has the underground sources truthfully concurred all the nasty potential underlying factors of cloning? Have they truthfully reached the point with this secret agenda as to be able to tweak and modify as they go without worry as to the consequences if they slice and dice and oops(this is a fine mess you got me into Ollie)?
    As far as I wish to go into that program without blowing off a lot of steam!!
    Truthfully believe that when we get into any type of D.N.A. splicing, modifications, reproductions, etc. it must be conducted miles underground in top secured environments in respect of any unforeseen consequences or oops occur!!


    Because we can. Guess we can do away with the ethics committee and be done with it, majority of the Hill Boy’s have no morals nor ethics left.

    Saddened it the South

  3. I did touch upon the technical aspects of cloning earlier, but not the moral or incidental.
    If God, or Nature took a species away, I would assume it best to let sleeping dogs lie.
    Who knows what devastating effects reintroducing extinct species like mammoths might have on today’s environment. If they are anything like their modern relatives, the elephants, they can be pretty unpredictable and downright dangerous. Bear in mind they are built to tackle large predators like the extinct giant cats.

    Silliness mode now, just to make the point:
    What if mammoths were semi-carnivorous? What? they just ate the cud? What if they were simply celebrating a mammoth festival of “Eat the grass month” when they all died out? Can you imagine the equivalent of a herd of four-ton tigers on the rampage?
    Silly as that was, to all intents and purposes that might as well be true when they encounter human activity. They might out-compete domestic farmstock for food or cause immense damage to property, livelihoods and possibly lives too.

    Just not worth it outside of a zoo on an island somewhere, probably where nobody can ever go to anyway.

  4. In all honesty, wouldn’t it be nice if “science” would attempt to do things that are most beneficial to the species that are alive at this time instead of having to “play God” all the time? I’d love to see the “God complex” parked somewhere and science go back to working for the good of mankind and the environment instead of believing it has to control everyone and prove that “creation” is anybody’s game.

  5. I live in California. I like the wildlife I see on my morning walks. I don’t want to see a grizzly bear rummaging through my garbage cans. It’s sad that they are gone. But what is more important, humans’ or grizzlies? If you are in favor of grizzlies, then, please, go move to where they still exist… and stop using electricity. (P.S. And if you should happen to meet a grizzly face-to-face… well, have fun.

    1. I kind of agree with you, even though I don’t advocate killing off any species.
      Who knows? todays pest might be tomorrows saviour. Look at crocs as just one example; I think nobody wants to come across one, but think of what we can learn from their immune systems if they can get major injuries and swim in what amounts to sewage with little to no ill effect.
      But yeah, humies and wildlife rarely mix well and the two best be kept apart much as possible. And yup, being a fellow humie, I would put favour on humies if I have to

  6. What about the:
    The Arctic Ground Squirrel, American Mastodon, North American Short-Faced Bear, American Lion, Giant Beaver, American Scimitar Cat, Steppe Bison, Ancient Caribou, Helmeted Muskox, and Yukon Horse?

    There is a good interpretive centre in Whitehorse Yukon on Beringia, as the area was known as. There is lot of good reading on their website also.

    There was a story this weekend about native americans ancestors spent 10000 years living in tents in what is now the Bering Sea. That was a long camping trip.


  7. Other than genetic manipulation from cell samples, one alternative would seem to be vibrational frequency as repesented in the DNA strand itself… through simple trial and error along Sheldrake’s morphogentic field theory… if you’ve heard of those laser light experiments. Just a thought.

    1. I believe reezeh’s comment above is right. If they have the ability to revive extinct species why they can’t cure some genetic related diseases.
      Human cloning would be easy for them, etc.
      I don’t think it will happen, but I’d love to see the Wooly Mammoths walking on Earth again.

  8. The passenger pigeon might not be viable. They went extinct because they needed massive large rookeries in order to breed. Wonder how many votes the Rocky Mountain locust would get? If you go on the glaciers in the Rocky Mts. you can find fresh samples lying in the glaciers that are well preserved. Would we really want them back?

  9. I’m all for this. Bring back the saber tooth tiger, the woolly mammoth, a dino or two. Maybe a T-Rex! Heck… by doing this we can prove there is no real problem clubbing baby seals to extinction, hunting elephants or rinos out of existence. Then we can hunt the revived-species out of existence and start all over! Kick one of the props out from under the eco-greenie-freaks.

    Or, maybe, the libs can bring back neanderthals and maybe a ‘Lucy’ or two and give them voting rights. Just one more step up on the ladder from dead people voting. Give voting rights to the extinct hominids!

    1. “Just one more step up on the ladder from dead people voting. Give voting rights to the extinct hominids!”

      Why Not? They have been voting in Chicago and New York for years.

  10. Did anyone see Jurassic Park? I don’t think that turned out too well. What makes these folks think that it would turn out any better? These animals and birds are extinct because nature decided that they should be. Bringing them back, most likely, won’t be a good thing. You don’t mess with Mother Nature. Don’t they remember the commercial from the 60’s?
    We are not God and He may not take it to kindly if we start this kind of messing with his territory.

  11. “About the grizzlies and tigers, I’ll have to reserve judgement at this time. It may just depend on who is standing in front of me when I come across one.”

    Remember, you don’t have to outrun the grizzly or the tiger; you just have to outrun the other person!

    1. Good luck!
      I am no bear expert, but what I do know is that if that grizzly targets you, it don’t matter how fast you can run. He will just take down the slow guy for being in the way. Then proceed to hunt you down.
      And relentlessly.

      Outrunning such a creature is akin to trying to outrun the force of gravity.

      1. My feeble attempt at humor.

        Lewis and Clark solved the problem by climbing trees to get away from irate grizzlies, and declared they’d rather fight two Indians than one grizzly.

        And when all the bears and saber tooth tigers are de-extincted (is that a word?), we’ve still got the dire wolf, the killer pig, and many, many, more.

        At this rate one wonders if humans might someday have to be de-extincted.

  12. I don’t know about the feasability of resurrecting extinct species.
    Taking material from adult specimens won’t make for viable clones, unless the boffins have cracked that one.
    If they have solved that problem, then why can’t you just go to your doctor and get cured from a lot of “diseases” like arthritis and aging?

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